Pet Summer Hiking Series – Part Three



Parasites can be found hiking or camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and even your back yard.  Fleas, ticks, heartworm and Giardia are no laughing matter and can cause serious side effects if not prevented, and worse if not treated.


Most pet owners in Reno-Tahoe area are under the assumption that our elevation is too high for fleas, but this is simply not true.  Fleas do live in this area. Are we infested with fleas like the Midwest or South?  No.  Do we have fleas? Yes.  Should we take the steps to prevent flea infestation? Yes.  These infestations can cause flea allergy dermatitis or flea bite sensitivity on you and your pet, as wells as infestation in your home.  The saliva from the fleas causes inflammation, itching and secondary skin lesions.  They are also the main vector for the common tapeworm, a zoonotic (transferred to people) parasite.  When cats and dogs ingest fleas containing tapeworm larvae (cysticercoids), they can become infected.  If you believe there is an issue, they need to be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian with a dewormer immediately.



Image from

Ticks are small arachnids that must consume blood to complete their life cycle.  They feed on several types of animals including humans and our pets.  Ticks hang out in grassy areas, bushes, near creeks and rivers or trees and jump on the host for its’ next meal.  Ticks should be taken very seriously; they transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Our wet spring has led to an increase of ticks in the Reno-Tahoe area, and we have already seen several patients with ticks in the hospital.

Types of ticks found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Sierra Foothills

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted tick – Most Common in the Reno-Tahoe area
  • American Dog Tick
  • Brown Dog Tick
  • Western Blacklegged Tick
Photo courtesy of – From left: a female deer tick, a male deer tick, a female dog tick and a male dog tick. 

After any outing, be sure to check your pet for ticks.  They like warm places with little fur and are often found hanging out in ears, around eyes, between toes and in the axillary (armpit) area. If you find a tick on your dog, or you for that matter, it’s best to remove it safely as soon as you can.  Check out the CDC’s tip to safely remove a tick!  If you can’t, make an appointment and have your veterinarian remove it ASAP.  The longer the tick is attached the more likely it is to transmit diseases.



There are several products available for flea and tick prevention.  Frontline Plus, Nexgard, k9 Advantix II, and Sentinel are just a few available.  At Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, we promote Merial Products – Frontline Plus and Nexgard.

Apply a preventative like Frontline Plus which is made in size appropriate doses for dogs and cats.  This will start killing fleas and ticks after just one application; be sure not to bathe or swim your dog for 24 hours.

Nexgard is the other preventative product we promote, and pet owners are ecstatic about it! Instead of applying it between your pets’ shoulder blades like Frontline Plus, it’s given by mouth as a soft, beef-flavor chew your DOG eats.  Note: Nexgard is only available FOR DOGS!!

Tips from the Tech

I suggest buying preventatives from your veterinarian.  The product will be guaranteed, since was stored properly and came directly from the vendor.  This will also ensure you get the correct product for your pet and do not mistakenly overdose or under dose your pet.

Applying and/or Giving Preventatives

  • Follow directions exactly as stated on the label, bottle or packaging.
  • Always wear gloves, and wash your hands after application or if you get any product on your own skin.
  • Keep the products away from food and out of children’s reach.

Remember dogs and cats are VERY different; these products are specially formulated for each species!  Be sure you apply the correct preventative to the correct pet.  Applying canine Frontline to a feline patient can cause serious illness and even death.

Up next…Heartworm preventative, Giardia and emergency trail tips! Questions or tips? Post them here as a comment or Follow me…Aubrie, and stay up to date on my tech tips!

Ruby isn’t worried about fleas or ticks; she’s protected by Nexgard!



Author: Aubrie Ricketts

Experienced Licensed Veterinary Technician, Executive Master of Business Administration - University of Nevada, Reno. I love marketing and promoting preventative medicine and pet wellness. I have a dedicated passion for veterinary anesthesia and pain management.

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